Local councils groan under the weight of a legal burden, that they are responsible for the pavements around town. If people fall over or trip because of bad maintenance the council has to cough up the compo as a result of that legal duty. So, obviously, they do:
Pedestrians were awarded at least £2.1m in compensation after tripping on pavements in the past year, research has revealed.
The AA found that 10,572 people made claims against local councils, but only 859 – just 8% – were successful.
While some councils paid compensation on more than 75% of claims, others made no payouts despite hundreds of claims.
Councils blamed “decades of underfunding by successive governments” for their damaged pavements.
Well, it could be underfunding of course but sorting out a pavement isn’t a high cost activity. Certainly, it’s cheaper than running a team of diversity advisers. So there’s rather the matter of what the council decides to spend the money on instead of there not being enough perhaps.
Councils received 10,572 claims in the year to the end of May. Hillingdon council in west London had the greatest number of successful claims, paying out in 115 out of 148 cases. Liverpool city council made no payments despite receiving 448 claims. Only Shetland Islands council received no claims.
Well, yes, getting a Scally to cough up for the debts is always difficult.
The AA’s Freedom of Information request revealed that during the period, cash-strapped councils paid out £2.1million in compensation – money that could have been used on vital services.
But, umm, the council isn’t paying out on maintenance. But it is paying out on compensation. So, why don’t they do the maintenance and save on the compo? The answer is obvious if you’ve any knowledge of public choice theory. Which just says that the rulers, the bureaucracies, they’re subject to the same force of economic incentives as the rest of us. It might be, is, that they face absurd and counter productive incentives but they’ve still got them and they still react to them.
The reason the councils pay the compensation instead of fixing the pavements is that it’s cheaper to do it this way around.